Addressing the Talent Shortage in IT Security

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As digital transformation continues to drive digital business forward, it is becoming increasingly clear that many organizations are struggling to keep up with the pace of digital adoption. This digital deficit has led to a talent shortage in digital security professionals who can help safeguard digital assets and minimize enterprise risks against cyber-attacks. Needless to say, companies need to find ways in addressing the talent shortage in IT security.

Accordingly, skilled IT security professionals have become among the most sought after employees today due not only to their expertise but also because they are crucial for digital transformation success. They are needed more than ever as 87% of new digital applications by 2020 will require a new digital security infrastructure.

The reality is that cybercrime costs have been steadily rising, while companies’ abilities to defend themselves have been declining. Moreover, some digital security managers admit that digital attacks and breaches against their organizations occur repeatedly with little or no consequences to the digital attackers.

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is a digital business initiative aimed at transforming digital capabilities within an organization. According to Gartner, digital transformation may vary from one organization to the next but it is always about working differently. Working differently means that an organization’s digital application portfolio must deliver superior digital value by embedding innovation into processes, products and services that cater targeted markets effectively.

What are digital assets?

Digital assets are essentially technology-based physical or tangible assets/resources owned by an enterprise that have associated digital information stored in databases, storage devices, servers etc. These digital resources are necessary to support digital business activities. Digital assets can be software, databases, digital documents etc.

What is cyberattack?

A cyberattack is an attempt by one entity (known as the attacker or malicious agent) to cause harm or loss of digital security for another entity (known as the target). Cyberattacks include phishing, malware attacks and other types of digital threats. The ultimate goal of any digital attack whether carried out by individuals or groups would be to compromise digital security so that they can use digital resources for their own purposes without rights-holder owner’s consent.

Given this scenario where skilled IT professionals are in short supply while digital threats continue to escalate globally, digital security companies have been trying to find digital security talent solutions for a long time now. In a digital world where digital networks, computer systems and operating programs are collaboratively linked via digital communication channels over the Internet, digital security professionals need to understand both technical and non-technical aspects of cyberattacks in order to develop countermeasures. In fact, digital attackers use digital tools to carry out cyberattacks to steal digital assets and sensitive digital information for their own gains. Consequently, digital security professionals should possess skills in digital forensics and malware analysis to investigate digital crimes and manage digital risks effectively.

Digital Forensics: The Technical Aspect of Cybersecurity

Digital forensics is a highly technical field where investigators reconstruct digital data using mathematical approaches such as encryption, binary search techniques etc. In addition to these mathematical approaches, digital forensics involves computer hardware and software used in the collection and analysis of digital evidence from crime scenes. Computer-based digital evidence can be collected either directly or indirectly from computers that were involved in an attack or breach.

So what are the approaches in addressing the talent shortage in IT Security?

Unfortunately digital security companies currently lack digital security skills. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, there is a global shortage of two million digital security professionals that will grow to nearly 12 million by 2021. Further evidence shows that digital transformation has created major gaps in digital security throughout enterprises. For example, analytics firm NTT Com Security surveyed more than 1,000 enterprise employees working at eight different industries including banking, healthcare and the public sector.

The survey found that many digital security professionals are unable to confront digital threats effectively due to inadequate tooling capabilities provided by their organizations. The inadequacies include failure of basic endpoint protection suites which enable malware infection without detection; vulnerability scanning tools which falsely declare systems secure despite vulnerabilities; user access reviews which miss unauthorized access to digital assets and digital security training programs that fail to keep up with digital threats.

In order to solve the talent shortage in IT Security, digital security companies need to consider launching digital apprenticeship program initiatives to allow digital professionals from non-technical backgrounds such as marketers, sales reps etc. gain CISSP certification which is a recognized industry standard for information security management. By doing so, organizations can open themselves up for a wider range of diversity and talent solutions while helping generate more awareness about the benefits of digital transformation. This will also provide an opportunity for digital professionals who have interest in becoming experts in cyberattacks but lack the technical background that is needed.


Global digital security professionals are trying to mitigate digital risks caused by digital attacks and the resulting digital vulnerabilities while digital transformation is introducing new digital threats. Traditional technical solutions developed individually by digital security companies have failed to keep up with the increasing pace of digital threats, leading to a critical shortage in global digital security talent.

In addressing the talent shortage in IT Security, what should be done? By promoting digital apprenticeship program initiatives which teach non-technical IT professionals how to become CISSP certified vendors can facilitate better talent supply for their organization while helping to solve the growing cyberattacks problem around the globe. Given that this will open opportunities for non-technical individuals to enter into very high paying positions, organizations will also be able to build stronger partnerships with blue chip clients who are always looking at ways to digitalize their businesses and reduce costs.

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